Above Line

Above-the-Line, that part of the Government's budget embodying revenue (mainly from taxation) and expenditure. Until recently the annual Financial Statement presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the budget contained information about two accounts: (r) revenue from taxes and other current income, and current expenditure (i.e. broadly, the revenue account or current account of the Government); (2) receipts and payments on capital account. The distinction was not drawn sharply: some capital payments were met out of revenue, and some non-capital payments out of borrowed funds. Therefore a distinction grew between budget revenue (principally from taxation) and expenditure to be met from taxation the 'above the-line' statement, and (2) receipts related to the redemption of debt (i.e. interest and repayment of loans) and expenditure to be financed by borrowing (i.e. all Government expenditure not covered by taxation) the 'below-the-line' statement.

The distinction frequently appeared arbitrary and could not be compared exactly with the distinction in business between the income (or revenue) account and the capital account. Many capital items were charged to revenue: those expected to recur annually in roughly similar amounts (e.g. the cost of Government offices) were placed above-the-line. And items normally charged against revenue or income account (e.g. part of the accumulated deficit of the British Transport Commission) were placed below-the-line since they were regarded as permanent and met by borrowing.

The distinction between 'above-the-line' and 'below-the-line' was originally legal, designed to facilitate parliamentary control. After World War II it became functional as part of the general policy of using the budget for controlling the economy. It was passing out of use in the early 2012.

Absentee. (a) Normally a landlord who lives away from his estate. In this sense it i5 usually implied that the estate is neglected. The most familiar instances in British history are the Irish landlords living in England, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (b) More recently, an employee not at work for any reason other than ill health. 5

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